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Joshua 22:21-23:16

An altar is a place of exchange. In the case of Israel, their alter was a place where they exchanged their personal and national sins for God’s righteousness through daily blood sacrifices. For the 2 ½ tribes, their memorial, their large memorial was to be a reminder to whom? What one says and what one’s true intentions are is two separate things. It can be said that one’s actions speak so loudly that what is being said is drowned out. So unless we know what is truly in their hearts, we cannot discern their true intentions. However, we do have a record of what happened to both those on the east of the Jordan and those on the west. Their fruit, like our fruit gives evidence of what was in the heart.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh had requested land not intended as their Promise, to be there substitute Promise. So what was the real intent of this memorial/altar. Had they since realized after really seeing the Promise that God had for them, that they had made a mistake and were to proud to say so? The problem with “memorials” is this: unless one is interested in history, they either become a place for pigeons to sit on and/or they become part of the scenery and all meaning is lost except by the tourists and the lovers of history and architecture.

To truly keep your mind focused on something, one must have a heart felt love for what is before you. Altar or no altar, memorial or no memorial the issue at hand is what is going on in the heart of both the 2 ½ tribes, east of the Jordon, and the 9 ½ tribes on the west. That is the same predicament we have today. Whether we have statues/paintings/icons of those, we have decided by consensus, to be godly saints, or we have sparse places of worship with plan walls, the issue is and has always been what is going on in the heart.

We justify our actions by appearances; GOD examines our motives. Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to GOD than religious performance. (Proverbs 21:2-3 MSG)

Grace and peace,

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